From The American Dream Lost by Tom Chatham
What is the American dream? What makes it American versus Russian or Chinese? The one thing that has set America apart from all others over the years is the freedom we have had to invent and develop ideas. This country was founded on ideas the likes of which had never been conceived before. A man should be free to live his life as he pleases and do as he wants as long as it does not hurt others was a new idea. It was an idea that appealed to many. So strongly did they feel about this that they left their homes and set out across a dangerous ocean not knowing if they would make it to this land where the laws of men did not yet exist. With only their trust in God and each other and the ideas they dreamed of, they created the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. They were not prosperous because of new cities that had been built for them, or crops that had been planted for them, or new machines that had been invented for them. They came to an empty land with vast natural untapped resources. The freedom they enjoyed allowed them to build their own cities, plant their own crops and invent incredible new machines. The natural resources were important but it was their freedom that allowed their growth, prosperity and inventiveness. Freedom allowed them to be as much as they could dream to be. Without really knowing or understanding exactly what it is, people have espoused about living the American dream. The American dream to some is being prosperous in a monetary way. To some it is following their dreams and doing something that they enjoy doing regardless of wealth. In the end the American dream in its purist sense is about the unrestricted freedom to do what makes us happy. That is what set us apart from all other countries. That is what produced our prosperity and happiness.
The dream is fading along with our happiness and prosperity. The American dream has been hijacked by the same evils that have perverted and destroyed it the world over since the beginning of time. It is being ruled and regulated and taxed away by those who have different dreams. Their dreams of wealth and control know no ends. If it is allowed to continue the dream that is unrestricted freedom will die and people will suffer the misery of its progeny, totalitarianism. Not understanding that the dream is actually the availability of freedom, many will let it slip away like grains of sand through their fingers until one day nothing is left.
Rome was not built in a day. It was built brick by brick over many years just as freedom and prosperity are. Just as easily it can be destroyed little by little without much notice until the day people realize it no longer exists. When nations die they end much like cloudy days, with no disernable sunset, no specific moment between light and darkness, just a dim glow that fades into obscurity until nothing remains. The more something degrades the harder it becomes to restore it. Once it is completely destroyed it must be rebuilt from scratch which is a long and difficult process. The American dream is dying and people are at a loss to understand why. They think if they emulate other countries or philosophies they will regain it but this only carries them further away from the dream. Until they rediscover that freedom is the key to happiness and prosperity the slide into the abyss will continue. If the lessons of the past have to be relearned then it will be a long and difficult journey for this nation and its people. History has also taught us that every fiat currency ever created has collapsed. Fiat currency is a confidence game that turns all of its users into debt slaves before ultimately destroying them. The United States is no different than any other country and our time is rapidly approaching. When currencies begin to die governments tighten their control on the people to maintain their power and wealth. When paper money dies you can be sure that those in power have already converted their wealth into tangible items such as gold, property and factories that produce goods. They know that only tangible items are real wealth. The people need to follow this example and do the same before it’s too late. The governments prolific spending is increasing at an alarming rate. We are now at the point that to stop this spending will cause a great deal of pain for the people but continued spending will eventually end the same way and the pain will be unbearable. To put it simply, we can amputate a toe now or the whole leg later. Which would you prefer?
One of the things people equate to the American dream is our standard of living. The abundance that has been created from our freedom over the years is emulated by many across the world. There is little you cannot do or find in America. Most in this country who have never traveled abroad do not understand the incredible gift we have inherited from our fore fathers. It is this lack of understanding that has led to deterioration of our country and our values. Few who enjoy freedom realize the suffering and sacrifice that was necessary to gain it or is required to maintain it. Few are willing to make the sacrifice, instead opting to ride the gravy train never understanding that this ride ends at the bottom of a cliff. The American dream is dying and the only way to save it is to reexamine the way we are living and recapture the spirit that made us great. Nothing in life is free and the cost to regain freedom lost will exact a high cost in blood, sweat and tears. One of the great benefits of our freedom has been our standard of living. It has been decaying for many years because of fraud, waste and abuse in a system that has been perverted to benefit the few while taking from the many. We need to reexamine the way we live and get back to basics in order to regain what we have lost. We need to get back to a business model that has been proven to work. We need to regain a level of freedom and a standard of living that we are losing. To build anything you must start with a good foundation and work up from there. A lot of the decay in our society can be attributed to the decline in our moral underpinnings. When people loose respect for the private property rights of others and accept graft and corruption as a normal part of doing business, the destruction of wealth and prosperity will soon follow. Real wealth is difficult to build and very easy to destroy as many are now finding out. Only through hard work and honest business practices can a nation prosper and grow. That is not to deny that a few corrupt individuals can and have in fact attained unimaginable wealth in this nation. But these individuals have done so at the cost of many others and this wealth is not beneficial to the greater population but in fact hinders the honest business economy and prevents the upward mobility of those affected. One mechanism that has accomplished this is the lobbying efforts of big business that has caused higher taxes, rules and regulations that have forced many small businesses to close and other companies to move overseas. Those that have lost good paying manufacturing jobs to outsourcing now have to make do with lower paying jobs with less upward mobility. This causes these people to have a lower standard of living which flows through the economy causing others to have a lower living standard. A lot of wealth and productive capability is retroactively destroyed because people who otherwise might have brought new ideas and products to market are dissuaded from doing so due to the smaller slower economy. Many will try to defend this outsourcing as a good thing but it ultimately makes everyone a lot poorer in the affected country. If left unchecked, this can destroy a country and its production capability. This can lead to people having to live in a third world economy when they don’t have to. This is a reality that we are beginning to experience in the U.S. as time passes.
Your standard of living is relative. It is made up of all of the things that are available to you that enhance your quality of life and happiness. Everyone has their own idea of happiness so the standard of living will be different for everyone. A man living on a mountain top in a cabin with no running water and no electricity might be very satisfied with his life. If he has shelter, food, clothing, and a caring family that might be everything he wants from life. The more you want the more you will have to labor and earn. For some, having lots of things will mean happiness, for others just having a family to come home to every night will fulfill their needs and wants. A standard of living and happiness are two distinctly different things but they go hand in hand to complement each other. A standard of living involves tangible things that make life easier while happiness is for the most part a state of mind. So don’t confuse your standard of living with your happiness. Most people don’t understand the relationship between these two things and their lives are always out of balance because of it. Having tangible things will increase your productive capability but they won’t make you happy in and of themselves. Your happiness comes from feeling a since of belonging and accomplishment in the actions that you take. Knowing what makes you happy and what you want out of life is the first step to achieving it. A high standard of living is just icing on the cake, not the cake itself. So, don’t confuse yourself.